Protestors Demand Firing Of Thermopolis Cop Who Broke Into Home, Killed Local Man

Thermopolis residents have gathered at the town's main intersection every night to protest the actions of Thermopolis Police Sgt. Mike Mascorro, who killed a suspect in a gunfight after breaking into the suspect's home without a warrant.

CM
Clair McFarland

October 17, 20234 min read

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THERMOPOLILS — Jason Bowman said he isn’t the anti-cop type.   

A bearded Thermopolis welder in a dusty ball cap and a white T-shirt, Bowman stood Monday with a handful of other locals at the town’s main intersection, known to locals as “The Stoplight,” protesting a lack of public response from their local government to the shooting death of Buck Laramore by a police officer.   

Surrounded by about a dozen other protestors and met with honking passers-by, Bowman supported a sign reading “LAWS apply to LAW Enforcement too!!!”   

Laramore’s mother, Debra Laramore-Fenton, held a sign of her own that read: “Justice for Buck is Justice for ALL / Together we stand divided we shall fall.”  

Laramore-Fenton said she is not yet ready to comment specifically on the shooting.  

The Shooting  

Thermopolis Police Sgt. Mike Mascorro shot and killed Buck Laramore on April 28, after breaking into Laramore’s home and triggering a gunfight that also left Mascorro with life-threatening wounds. 

He is now back on duty, according to the townspeople who gathered at The Stoplight.    

A recent report by a special prosecutor found that while Mascorro’s shooting of Laramore was justified under a self-defense exemption protecting police, the officer also broke into the suspect’s home illegally, prompting the shootout. 

Comin’ On For A While  

Bowman has organized a petition to hold Mascorro accountable, and he invites people to protest with him at The Stoplight every evening.   

Bowman said many townspeople have been grumbling — quietly — against Mascorro for a long time.  

Even so, many people still won’t sign Bowman’s petition out of fear of retaliation, he said, adding that level of fear is a red flag.   

“To me that’s just all the more reason we’re doing what we’re doing,” he said. “Somebody’s got to stand up for the people that can’t for themselves. And that’s what we’re doing.”  

Bowman has started these protests and his petition with his grown children in mind as well, since they live in that community, he said.  

Neither Mascorro nor Chief Pat Cornwell were available when Cowboy State Daily visited the police department Monday afternoon.   

Mascorro's attorney indicated he will email a response to some of the protestors' more specific allegations later this week.

  • Debra Laramore-Fenton, mother of Buck Laramore, who was killed in a shootout with a Thermopolis police officer, holds a sign memorializing her son at a Monday protest. A special prosecutor determined that while the officer was justified in shooting Laramore, he did so after entering his house illegally.
    Debra Laramore-Fenton, mother of Buck Laramore, who was killed in a shootout with a Thermopolis police officer, holds a sign memorializing her son at a Monday protest. A special prosecutor determined that while the officer was justified in shooting Laramore, he did so after entering his house illegally. (Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Jason Bowman, right in white T-shirt, led roughly a dozen protestors Monday in Thermopolis, urging the town to hold police Sgt. Mike Mascorro responsible for entering a man’s home illegally April 28 and triggering a gunfight that led to the man’s death.
    Jason Bowman, right in white T-shirt, led roughly a dozen protestors Monday in Thermopolis, urging the town to hold police Sgt. Mike Mascorro responsible for entering a man’s home illegally April 28 and triggering a gunfight that led to the man’s death. (Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Signs displayed at the main intersection on Thermopolis, Wyoming, in response to an officer-involved shooting.
    Signs displayed at the main intersection on Thermopolis, Wyoming, in response to an officer-involved shooting. (Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily)

What To Do?   

Bowman has reached out to the Wyoming Attorney General’s office seeking clarification on the Sept. 21 decision by a state special prosecutor that cleared Mascorro criminal liability in the case.   

The AG hasn’t called back yet, he said. 

Bowman’s question for the attorney general is: How can a police sergeant acting outside the law be considered to be on official duty?   

“It’s pretty simple to me,” said Bowman. “Law officer means you have to do your stuff lawfully.”   

Bowman said he has reached out to town authorities via social media and has not heard back.   

The town of Thermopolis may release a statement about the situation this week, Mayor Adam Estenson told Cowboy State Daily in a Friday email.   

The Change.org petition had so far gathered 862 signatures by Monday evening. Its goal is 1,000.  

People’s listed reasons for signing include everything from discomfort with the way the case turned out to highly personal claims of confrontations with Mascorro.    

What I’m Anti 

Bowman said he’s never had a run-in with Mascorro or a personal vendetta against him. He also specified that he’s not against police in general.   

“I’m not anti-cop now, and I never have been,” Bowman said. “I’m anti-cop-breaks-the-law-and-puts-people-in-danger.”   

Another woman attending Monday’s protest, who asked not to be identified by name, said she’s pro-law enforcement but has concerns that in the case of Mascorro and the police department, the townspeople’s interests aren’t represented.   

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter